Lee Schraner at the Bowls NSW 2021 Open Gender Grade 1 State Pennant Finals

Schraner Ready For Blues Debut

by Billy Johnson

For most bowlers the opportunity to debut for your State is a unique experience, complete with feelings of excitement, pride and the usual touch of nerves. All the commitment given to your bowling career is coming to fruition as you prepare to represent your state. Seven bowlers are set to make their debut in the KENO NSW Blues Open Sides for the upcoming series against Victoria, and six of them will be going through this exact process. For Raymond Terrace’s Lee Schraner, he’s going through a case of déjà vu.

Schraner has made over 300 Test appearances at State level – 211 for Victoria and 91 for Tasmania – and has amassed an extensive list of achievements that includes twenty-one state titles, eight national titles and a World Champion of Champion Singles title in 2019. He’s experienced more on the bowling green than most of us could imagine, but the chance of playing for NSW is still a thrill to him.

Lee Schraner celebrates winning the World Champion of Champion Singles title in 2019

“It’s kind of ironic that my debut is against Victoria at Moama. My debut for Victoria was at the same venue against NSW in 2004. Back then I was 22 years old and felt like a deer in the headlights, playing second for Dougie (Mark Jacobsen) against a star-studded NSW side that included names like Steve Anderson, Brett Duprez and Tom Ellem.” The experience hardened Schraner, teaching him to control his nerves and maintain a positive mindset, a process that he is once again going through for his NSW debut some eighteen years later.

This time around, Schraner was somewhat surprised that his debut for NSW will be as a skip, but was ready to make the most of the opportunity. “I’ve already been in contact with the other players in my rink to let them know what to expect when it comes to processes, approach to matches and an overall game plan. I think it’s important to have a plan, it gives everyone a sense of direction and allows you to control your nerves and feel more comfortable within the team.” When asked how it felt coming up against his former state Victoria, Schraner was quick to point out the positives. “There’s a sense of comfort to it honestly, I know the guys well and they are my mates. When you’re on the green though, it’s all about playing to win. Victoria are a strong side with a couple of new skippers in Dean O’Neill and Brett Mahoney, and they will be full of confidence after a solid 5-0 Test sweep against Tasmania. Hopefully I can use some of the knowledge I have of these guys to help get the result we want.”

It’s this level of commitment and understanding of the game that has helped Schraner achieve so much success. He is meticulous in his approach to matches, constantly thinking about the best way to manufacture a win for himself and his team. What is the main driving force then for someone who has seemingly done and won it all?

The truth is that Schraner holds an unfortunate record as one of very few bowlers, if not the only bowler to play over 300 State Test matches and never win an Alley Shield. The holy grail of Men’s State representative bowls has eluded him to date, although he has been a part of an incredible nine second-place finishes. “I love State bowls. It’s the highest level I can play at, which is why I want to play in it for the longest time possible. It’s exciting to know I’m now a part of the NSW history books, and the possibility of winning an Alley Shield only adds to that excitement.”

Never one to get ahead of himself, Schraner knows that he must perform if he’s going to earn selection for the Alley Shield, but he’s ready for the challenge and is grateful for the support he has from his club Raymond Terrace. “Their support has been amazing. Ever since I made the move, they have been so helpful and I appreciate how they have assisted me in both bowls and work. They are the most ‘bowls focused’ big club I have been a part of, and the future looks bright. I just hope I can give back to them after all they have given me.”

“I love State bowls. It’s the highest level I can play at, which is why I want to play in it for the longest time possible. It’s exciting to know I’m now a part of the NSW history books, and the possibility of winning an Alley Shield only adds to that excitement.”

Lee Schraner

Lee Schraner is ready to take on Victoria

For now, the focus for Schraner will solely be on NSW and getting a series win over Victoria at Moama. Along with the six other Open Side debutants as well as the Over 60 and U25 sides, the series is going to be an experience they will never forget.

The New South Wales v Victoria Test Series takes place from 6th – 7th August at Moama Bowling Club. Visit bowlsvic.org.au for more information.

NSW Debutants

Men’s Open SideCraig Donaldson (St Johns Park)
Lee Schraner (Raymond Terrace)
Lee Stinson (Warilla)
Peter Taylor (Alstonville)
Women’s Open SideKayla Courtin (Cabramatta)
Kate Matthews (Raymond Terrace)
Angela Platt (Northmead)
Men’s U25 SideIndi Conlan (Ballina)
Lachlan Freeman (Raymond Terrace)
Jayden Gebbie (Figtree Sports)
Michael Phillips (Merrylands)
Women’s U25 SideBrittany Camp (St Johns Park)
Rebekah Lord (Engadine)
Chelsea McKay (Raymond Terrace)
Men’s Over 60’s SideWilliam Ahoy (Soldiers Point)
Steve Ashdown (Belrose)
Greg Brims (Westport)
Michael Clarke (Merrylands)
Bruce Lack (Temora)
Peter Taylor (Westport)
Paul Williams (Halekulani)
Women’s Over 60’s SideCheryl Douglas (South Tamworth)
 Sharon McReynolds (Raymond Terrace)
Maryann Parcell (St Johns Park)
Jacqueline Short (St Johns Park)